A critical review of James J. Gross, “Emotion Regulation: Past, Present, Future”. Cognition and Emotion, 1999, 13 (5), p.551-573.
This paper will discuss James J. Gross’ article “Emotion Regulation; Past, Present, Future”. In this article the author asserts that there are five theoretical challenges to emotion regulation investigations and offers insight on future directions in research. However before these five can be expanded and explored Gross attempts to define and re-define basic definitions. Furthermore, Gross gives the reader a brief overview of the history of research on emotions and the different approaches various models provide. After summarising Gross’ main points and ideas this paper will try to evaluate the importance of this article and its objectives. As a starting point to his article Gross uses the psychoanalytic tradition. The foundation for this tradition is “the conflict between biologically based impulses and internal and external restraining factors” (Gross, 1999, p.552). The author argues that the relationship between psychoanalytic methods and emotion regulation is closer than a mutual interest with impulse regulation. Gross states that Freud’s theory relies on the concept of anxiety regulation and that Freud uses anxiety as a “catch all term for negative emotion” (Erdelyi, 1993; cited in Gross, 1999). He also explains Freud’s structural model of personality and his conception of anxiety in which Freud used ego as the defence mechanism that regulates anxiety. Furthermore, he writes about more recent studies which are based on the psychoanalytic approach and also points out their weaknesses such as dependence on correlational and experimental techniques rather than clinical methods.
Gross next examines the stress and coping tradition. This tradition is thought to originate in work of Cannon and Selye (1956, 1974; cited in Gross,